Zaini Abdullah and his running mate, Muzakir Manaf, recently won Aceh’s gubernatorial election with more than 51 percent of the vote and are expected to lead the province until 2017. Both were senior members of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM), which waged a decades-long violent insurgency against the Indonesian government that ended with the signing of the Helsinki agreement in 2005. Zaini, GAM’s former foreign minister, recently talked with The Jakarta Post’s Hotli Simanjuntak about his plans and strategies to develop one of the nation’s poorest provinces. Below are excerpts of their discussion:
Question: What will be your top priority in the short term?
Answer: We are putting efforts to maintain peace and security on the top of our agenda. Then we will focus on how to increase the welfare of the people and reduce unemployment by helping to create more jobs.